Health Officials Urge Residents to Stop Shaking Hands Amid Coronavirus Concerns

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State health officials are urging residents to stop shaking hands with one another amid coronavirus concerns.

U.S. Surgeon General Vice Admiral Jerome M. Adams and Governor Ned Lamont visited the state's public health lab in Rocky Hill on Monday to give an update on the coronavirus.

The Connecticut State Public Health Laboratory is where testing for the coronavirus can now be complete in about a day, compared to almost a week when the tests had to be sent out of state to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia.

This will not only relieve some pressure from the CDC, but it's also a tool here in Connecticut to combat the threat of the coronavirus.

While the federal government is giving test kits to states free of charge, there is not an unlimited supply of test kits so there is criteria in place for who can get tested.

"If the disease spreads then we will be better equipped to be able to respond to testing sooner than later," said Department of Public Health Lab Director Dr. Jafar Razeq.

There have been no reported cases of coronavirus here in Connecticut. Over the weekend, Gov. Lamont said tests for two Connecticut residents were conducted and both of them tested negative for coronavirus.

The risk for coronavirus is low in Connecticut, according to Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Public Health Renee D. Coleman-Mitchell.

She asks that residents wash their hands, cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze and no longer shake people's hands as a precaution. Instead of shaking hands, residents are urged to do what she called an elbow bump.

Residents are also asked to stop touching their eyes, nose and mouth and if possible, people should practice social distancing when someone has symptoms.

Also over the weekend, cases of the coronavirus were confirmed in both Rhode Island and New York.

Authorities in Rhode Island are reassuring people that in that state the overall risk remains low. In Rhode Island, officials said they identified the state's first and second presumptive positive cases of the coronavirus on Sunday.

The Rhode Island Department of Health said on Sunday that an unidentified man in his 40s and a teenager who both had traveled to Europe in mid-February tested positive for the virus.

Late Sunday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said a person in New York had tested positive for coronavirus. The case was the first confirmed case of the illness in New York, he added.

"The patient, a woman in her late thirties, contracted the virus while traveling abroad in Iran, and is currently isolated in her home," Cuomo said.

Two people died of the coronavirus over the weekend in Washington state, according to health officials.

On Monday, state health officials announced the first case of coronavirus in New Hampshire.

Later on Monday, President Donald Trump plans to meet with major pharmaceutical companies to talk about the development of a possible vaccine, but it could take about a year to be ready.

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